I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.
1 Samuel 1:27
But...it is warm and beautiful out. We are all pretty much well (except Chase who now has the cold). We have settled into a new routine. And we have seen God's faithfulness over and over again. I have always so appreciated blog posts from others who are experiencing similar joys and challenges in their lives. It's encouraging to know I'm not alone. I gain wisdom. I see God's hand in their lives. And I learn how better to be praying and supporting them. So...I am answering so many who have asked how we are doing...really. And how they can be praying.
Now that the sickness is past and I'm feeling pretty good - I feel quite a bit more optimistic. A few days ago...not so much. It's not that I doubted God's plans for us - but I doubted I was going to be very good at this whole "mothering 4 girls - each with unique challenges". It's amazing how lack of sleep combined with feeling yucky AND taking care of people feeling yucky AND trying to help each person adjust to a new family member and sharing mom and dad AND helping the new family member settle in with a huge language barrier can make one feel a tad overwhelmed. Some of our struggles have been spiritual in nature...I am not one to look for the devil under every bush. I think we walk through life here with plenty of challenges because we live in a fallen world and we have a mighty Father who has promised to work all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. He's using the hard stuff in our life - on a daily basis - revealing His character, drawing us closer, shaping us. But...I also know that the enemy is alive and real and seeks to divide, destroy and discourage families. I'm pretty sure he is not a fan of adoption - since it brings the lost and vulnerable into families who protect and fight for them. So, it's a safe bet that we are a target right now - heck we have felt that for the past 10 years. Whenever anyone tells me they are considering or starting an adoption I warn them of spiritual attack. Not to scare them off - but so they can be prepared to arm themselves and stand on the promises of God. I haven't met a family yet who didn't have hard stories to tell from their adoption process and/or after they brought their child home. Not only is the enemy on the prowl to destroy, but we are bringing a child into our family that doesn't know Jesus and comes with a hard history. Angie's story is hers to tell some day if she wants to - but suffice to say that we have plenty to work through. People see her and her amazing smile and assume all is going smooth and perfectly for us. Not perfect - that is for sure! It hasn't been horrible - just very challenging at times. And the challenges aren't all her - we are each feeling the change and the attack in different ways.
And though we did attempt to pray, plan and prepare our kids as much as possible for this change - when the rubber hits the road and mom and dad are spending hours dealing with issues and or praying about stuff - they are gonna feel it. Of course the little ones feel it - and it can be more difficult to explain to them. It is also interesting how walking through some of this stuff brings up questions or issues our other girls are experiencing. That has happened during Vivi's adoption and Angie's. Among some heavier stuff we are also walking through the challenges of diet changes, climate differences, hair and skin care, school adjustments, family rules and the language barrier. We knew that one would be one of the hardest challenges and not a quick fix. Trevor and I have spent the past few months either being immersed in Spanish or focused on learning it to communicate with Angie. But...as we look up phrases and words and practice each day - we have learned some and she hasn't been learning quite as much English. She's listening all of the time and she does pick up on parts of some conversations - but we haven't been encouraging her to speak the words in English as much with so much more on our mind. This past week we have been more diligent in that area and she's making slow progress.
These are some challenges we've experienced (along with some various challenges in Colombia). But...have we witnessed God's amazing faithfulness in our lives? YES! He has supplied grace upon grace. He gave energy when there should be none. He has given us wisdom beyond our experience. (22 years of parenting sons + 10 years of parenting adopted girls does not = TEENAGE GIRL experience! Ha ha!) He has provided amazing support at our little school and through sweet friends from church. A meal here, an encouraging note there. And prayer - people faithfully lifting us up in prayer - that is HUGE as we battle the spiritual warfare and walk this path.
And there have been many daily joys. Sweet smiles and giggles. Feelings of victory as either Angie or one of us understands what the other person is trying to communicate. New friendships being made. Listening to each of our girls praise God for Angie finally being home. Matching clothes (that the girls plan out on their own). Savoring ice cream together. Enjoying warm spring days visiting different parks. Watching Angie tear up when Aslan dies in Narnia (knowing that this will help communicate what Jesus did for her!) Seeing God's purposes revealed throughout our wait and our time in Colombia. Enjoying one-on-one time with each of the girls during little dates. And probably many more that I am not thinking of at the moment. Truly God has proven Himself faithful in amazing ways through out the past 18 months we KNEW that He would continue after Angie came home. We are in awe of His power and love for us and our family. In so many ways this adoption has been a walk of faith and obedience - yet as is typical for Jesus - He has brought about pure joy as we follow Him and trust Him.
Here are some pics from the airport (thanks Jeni!) and a few from the past few weeks at home.
The welcoming committee!
These two are blurry - but I still love them. They capture their sweet smiles and excitement to finally be together! Loe has been counting this down for 18 months and even two weeks in - she still wakes up with a spring in her step and a smile on her face because her big sis is home!
A few friends and one of our sweet teachers.
Angie was able to meet her teachers via Skype a few weeks previous to her homecoming. They all came to greet her at the airport - have I mentioned how blessed we are?!
This girl MISSED her daddy! So happy she was to have him home!
Thank you to all who were able to make it to the airport! What a FUN night celebrating God's goodness and faithfulness in bringing our daughter home!
When we got home late that night - everyone was so tired, but still pumped up on adrenaline. Angie was thrilled to see her new bedroom in person. (She had seen pictures and asked us to see it during a few FaceTime conversations. She was surprised to find several gifts from Miss Betsy waiting in her bedroom including a new blanket, some jewelry, nail polish and a stuffed animal. SO sweet!
Once everybody finally settled down - they begged Daddy to read a bedtime story. He chose our newest Skippy Jon Jones book - one of our favorite book characters.
After I finished tucking Loe & Ren into bed I walked back down the hall to find this. And then I proceeded to melt into a giant puddle.
One of our lazy mornings. We took 3 days off of school so we could have a long 5 day weekend as a family. Trevor had to work quite a bit - but we relished being home together without a schedule. SO NICE. No...I didn't pose them. They were literally hanging out on the benches while I emptied the dishwasher. I rarely have to pose these kiddos - other than sometimes plopping Vivi down in the midst of them.
Many rounds of Uno and Pretty, Pretty Princess during those first few days home. Welcome to life with four daughters - Trevor.
Loe walked by with her book and Angie immediately scooted over and patted the chair for Loe to join her to sit next to her. LOVING that Angie is enjoying her Spanish Narnia books!
The long-awaited first day of school for Angie! I think Loe was as excited as Angie! The class welcomed her so warmly - she has been there just one week now and she has already developed some great friendships and continues to look forward to going every day. I love that they have this opportunity and that the days aren't too long - so I get to have them home all afternoon.
We have had many, many salsa lessons since she came home. Loe has some steps mastered already. She joked that she might accidentally throw some salsa steps into her worship dance routine! Here they are showing their moves to Auntie Kelly and MariaTeresita - two of our dear friends who came over to help us translate some things for Angie. When Angie realized it was MariaTeresita's birthday the following day - she immediately asked me if we could have her over to celebrate! LOVE her heart!
Hanging out at the park with these precious friends/neighbors! The Hettinger family has been such an amazing support to our family through out her entire adoption! So fun to see the kids all together!
Daddy and his girls...minus Vivi who was in no mood to sit still at that moment. :)
Love this pic of Trev and his oldest daughter along with Loe - photobombing it in the background. It really is sweet to see the relationship that has developed between Trevor and Angie. We are so thankful for their time together in Colombia - God knew that was exactly what they needed!
My beauties! Can not imagine my life without each one in it!
Ever since they finished our new neighborhood park - the girls have commented on how perfect these tree stumps are since there are four of them and there are four sisters in our family now! <3
Playing with some Silly Soap - great sensory activity for everybody.
I had intended for these to be their Easter dresses - but they begged to wear them already - so I gave in. I asked them to pop outside on this breezy morning for a quick picture before church and they immediately lined up here - love them all so very much. Sometimes still can't believe God has given us FOUR beautiful daughters! We are so blessed!
The Lord has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.